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20100509 Alton-growth Juniors-property AF  8886ALTON—With a new fire station on the way and a new franchise, the City of Alton is living up to its slogan, by becoming a “City on the Grow.” Assistant City Manager Steve Peña said construction plans have come in for the construction of a McDonald’s fast food restaurant.

“Construction plans have come in; they have passed the City of Alton Planning Department processing stage,” Peña said, although they have not yet secured a building permit.

Peña explained they are currently waiting for the franchise to tie up loose ends on their portion of the planning process. He added the location would be on Alton Blvd.

Alton just recently saw their first franchise business open in 2013 with the opening of the Golden Chick on Adams Street and Alton Blvd. Two months later, a Subway restaurant opened in the city off of 5 Mile Line.

Many local businesses have also found their way to Alton, including El Pedregal, a nice Mexican food restaurant located in the same shopping plaza as the Subway on 5 Mile Line at the Alton City Centre. New owners bought the property, changed its look and opened the restaurant in early April.

The new Junior’s Supermarket property has already poured cement foundations and installed plumbing. Peña said that over the next week the public would be able to see walls going up.

The new businesses, local and franchise, are creating more jobs, which Peña believes is helping the city grow at a steady rate. He added there is much growth in the area, not only in Alton but in neighboring cities as well.

“It is very exciting with all of the development in the area, like in Palmhurst, with the new H-E-B,” Peña said. “People are passing by and there is a lot of activity. It has spurred a multitude of multi-family housing construction…housing has boomed.”

In 2010, the population for Alton stood at 12,315. Peña estimates a current population of 15,000 due to growth in housing and new businesses. He adds mom and pop stores open regularly in the area, which also leads to the owners and employees moving to Alton.

“There are new businesses, then you wonder ‘are they living here or just bringing their business?’” Peña said. “After looking at two to three bedroom complexes and persons per unit, after you multiply…the city is definitely getting bigger.”

Population is also growing closer to the inner city, said Peña. He adds the people who reside in Alton like shorter commutes and would rather walk to their destinations. The city’s five to ten year plans include more sidewalks in the inner city as well as a hiking and biking trail.

Not only is Alton seeing new businesses, but also expansion of city facilities. Last month, Alton broke ground on a new fire station on the property south of Alton City Hall. On May 2, Congressman Henry Cuellar visited the grounds for a presentation of $1 million that was secured for the fire station under a USDA program.

In 2010, USDA, through the Rural Development Community Facilities awarded the $1 million funding. Half of the funds is a grant, while the other half is through a loan. Peña said it has taken a few years for the loan portion to go through its process but has been approved.

The City of Alton will contribute $150,000 to the project as well; the fire station project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.

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